Our next set of lessons will have you looking at the holdings you current have, and how you can get more out of them. Learning how to amplify your holdings can help your capital stretch further and help to boost your profit margin.
In this lesson, we’re going to go over some ways that you can amplify the holdings that you already have in your possession. These tips include:
- See the noticeable
- Unorthodox ideas
- Be realistic
See the Noticeable
Often, a person that’s involved in a situation may have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. It can be difficult to take a big-picture approach when you can’t see it. One of the first things that you need to do is to see the noticeable. You need to look at your current holdings carefully. There are plenty of opportunities for success surrounding you, your career, and your business. It’s just about being able to see them.
The next tip is not to ignore unorthodox ideas. You can’t wait for your next breakthrough to happen. You have to make it happen by creating it. Breakthroughs in your business are just ways to adapt to new methodologies or finding new things. Brainstorming sessions should be the norm in your company. You and your team should always be working on new ideas, and encourage your staff to come forward whenever they have them.
Examples of breakthroughs:
- Play-Doh was originally invented to clean wallpaper before it became the toy sensation it is today.
- The idea for roll-on deodorant came from ballpoint
- Nike’s founder used a waffle iron and rubber for his innovations with running shoes.
There are a few objectives that you need to keep in mind when going through a brainstorming session. These objectives include:
- Identify any hidden opportunities as you may be able to turn a negative into a positive.
- Every three months, you should be trying to find a cash windfall for your business.
- Your innovations will have more value to you when they add more value to your clients.
- Work on more than one breakthrough at a time to find the best innovations.
- The best innovations for your business will eliminate resistance and risk.
Innovations and breakthroughs can be beneficial for your business, but before they can be put into place, it’s essential to be realistic. It’s important to determine which of your systems and process aren’t working, and then find the best way to fix them. The best way to handle this is through a system analysis. It’s important to list your strengths and weaknesses to get a good grip on your current business standings. It’s also beneficial to then compare this list to your competitors. Think of it as a mini SWOT analysis.
Some questions for you and your team to ponder now includes:
- What was my reasons for starting my business, and why in this industry?
- What were my products and services? Which were popular?
- Why do my clients come to me for my service now?
- How was I getting new clients in the past?
- What marketing efforts offer the best results?
These answers can help you to shore up your weakness and improve upon your strengths.
These three tips are just the tipping point of how you’re able to amplify your holdings to get the most out of them. The next lessons will continue to grow your knowledge on this topic.
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We’ve gone over the first four big blunders that you need to avoid to protect your company in our previous blogs. Today, we’ll cover the final blunder: not having enough operating cash for your business.
Cash flow is one of the essential things to carefully watch for your business, even during the good times. There’s always the chance that you could run out of cash flow even if your business is doing well. One of the best ways to handle your getting your cash flow balanced is getting on time payment from your clients. For many of you, this may seem like the beginning of a headache, but it’s critical for your business to remain successful.
Get your payment process on track with these tips:
- Send your invoices on time, and always keep your records up to date for potential audits.
- Double Check your invoices for accuracy before sending them out. You don’t want to over or under charge your clients.
- Talk to your clients about how they process their payments to you. Get any information necessary on how best to invoice them, such as the best address.
- Get the contact information of the person that’s in charge of handling the orders and payments to you in case you need to speak to them in the future.
- Design a follow-up process just in case it’s needed.
- Get in touch with your contact as a last resort.
There are some ways that you can protect your cash flow. Here are some tips:
- Keep track of when accounts have to be paid.
- Speak with your suppliers to work on lowering costs as much as possible.
- Design a contingency plan for the bank just in case you need it.
- Create your own network of investors.
Following through on these tips can help you keep your cash flow balanced during the good times and the slow.
All of these lessons have the intention of helping you find and bring in new clients that are bigger and better than your previous ones. These lessons are the best way to grow your business and find success. It can take time to follow through on all of these steps, but going through them accurately will help you to find success.
Need some assistance with handling these tasks? Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and how they can help you in building a better, more successful business.
Previously, we went over the first two big blunders that you should avoid when making deals. In this lesson, we’ll go over the next two: biting off more than you can chew and having all of your expectations on one contract.
Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
Taking on too much business before your company can handle it can backfire. It becomes impossible for your company to keep up with all of the demands on it from your clients. This situation can turn into one where you’re unable to function and lose control. For your business to be successful, you need to have a clear plan for how you’ll handle growth. You must be able to provide the high-quality service, products, and customer service that your clients will expect from your company. Their concern is their business, not how your company handles things behind the scenes.
Defeat this blunder by looking for these signs:
- Some or all of your clients aren’t having their needs met.
- Your clients aren’t happy, your staff morale is down, and you feel panicky.
- You and your staff are always in emergency mode to handle customer needs.
- You’re losing profit and clients.
- You have to reallocate your resources.
- You’re trying to hold your business together with your fingertips.
It may be time to implement the Mock Fish Plan. It’s a valid plan that makes it possible for you to react positively to what’s going on so that you can put your business back on the right track before it’s too late.
What this plan does for your business:
- Add sales for the short term
- Improve your services and products
- Make it possible to meet any promises to clients
Steps in the Mock Fish Plan:
- Create a team made up of your best employees that can meet the needs of your clients.
- Go over your current operations.
- Brainstorm potential problems and determine how to solve them.
- Improve your communications process.
- Put costs in all of your quotes.
- Make a backup plan to fall back on.
Having All of Your Expectations on One Deal
You’ve probably heard the phrase do not have all your eggs in one basket meaning that this one basket could break with all of your eggs in it. You don’t want to depend on one client or deal for your company. There are going to be times when that client isn’t as active as you’d like or they may have a situation that comes up where they’re no longer your client. What happens to your company if this happens? Your business may suffer. It’s vital to have a diverse range of clients to keep your business prosperous.
Problems with one client can result in difficulties with potential clients. Here are some steps that can help you create a stable company with a secure future:
- Stay connected with your client’s company to have an idea of what’s going on internally not to get blindsided by news that could impact your deal.
- Stay aware of your industry and revamp your company to remain industry leaders.
- Remain exclusionary.
- Have a goal of contracts and commitments that are long-term rather than one year.
- Contracts should be spread out among a variety of clients.
- Stay aware of your pricing within the industry to keep your prices competitive.
It’s essential to reduce the dependency that you may have on just one client. You’ll be able to measure this with either profits or sales. It may be helpful to go back and look over previous lessons to find the best way to bring on more clients to achieve this balance.
Another lesson down on how to avoid these blunders to keep your company running strong. Need help with your business? Contact us today to learn about our services and how they can make a difference for your company.
Our next lesson will cover the final big blunder that you need to avoid for your business.
When it comes to your business, there are five big blunders that you need to avoid. Each of these blunders can turn into deal enders with potential clients.
- The expectations of the client go unmet
- Crisis situations are botched
- Biting off more than you can chew
- Having all of your expectations on one deal
- Not having enough operating cash for your business
These blunders are so big that not only could they potentially kill a deal or partnership, but they may even end your company. As these blunders are very important to understand so you can avoid them, we’ll go over them over the next few blogs to get a real feel for them. We’ll go over the first two in today’s lesson.
The Expectations of the Client Go Unmet
When going into a deal, both parties will have certain expectations of what they expect from it based on the negotiations building the agreement. Not giving your client what they expect out of this deal is a surefire way to kill the deal. If something comes up that makes it so that your client’s expectations aren’t met, you have to not only fix the situation but also determine how to prevent it from occurring again with this client or the next.
Potential reasons for this type of problem:
- Communication breakdown. A lack of communication between the deal makers and the department that handles supplying the service can result in the client not getting what they expect.
- Poor sales skills. Your salesperson may have been seeking the deal in such a way that they didn’t really pay attention to the client or what they needed.
There are some steps to take in creating an action plan that will prevent this blunder from occurring:
- Take a moment before speaking to think about what to say.
- Take breaks.
- Practice makes perfect for your process.
- Take the time to format your over-deliverables in advance.
- Don’t be hands-off during the process, but get involved.
- Have a definition of success.
Crisis Situations Are Botched
People expect for a crisis to happen, and often, that’s not enough to sink a deal. What will make or break your company is how you respond to the crisis situation. This response and the fix are what defines your company in the client’s eyes. This fact means that you have to react efficiently to avert the crisis quickly. Being the company that steps up in the right fashion when things go wrong will build confidence and trust between you and your client.
Here are some tips for handling a client crisis:
- Borrow from the British: Keep calm and carry on.
- Take control of the crisis yourself.
- Be first to apologize and take responsibility for the crisis.
- Avoid placing blame on other parties involved.
- Don’t wait to respond, but be swift and useful in your actions.
- Keep up constant communication during the crisis to keep a sense of transparency.
- Don’t take your eye off the ball until the crisis has been successfully dealt with.
There you have it. The first two big blunders, and how you can avoid them.
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Don’t miss out on our next blog where we’ll go over the 3rd and 4th big blunders that you need to avoid.
Previously, we discussed gearing up for the big first meeting, and it can seem for some people, that means it’s okay to stop pushing on the accelerator that the hard part is over. While it’s true that getting the first impression over with can help to break down potential barriers, it’s not time to stop or slow down. You want to pick up speed. This speeding up is all about building and nurturing the relationships you’re building with your champion.
You want them to be your biggest cheerleader not only in the meeting but beyond. You’ll want to show them appreciation to keep your partnership profitable with your champion by keeping them loyal to you.
You can accomplish this in a few ways.
- Don’t take up all the limelight. Let them take credit for their accomplishments in getting the deal signed. Give them a chance to thank their team and company with new services and products.
- Help them to be connected emotionally to your brand.
- Find ways to make them happy.
- Be vigilant for when something needs to be addressed right away.
- Have the foresight to know when they need to be left alone.
Each of these techniques can help you in building that rapport which can lead to a solid working relationship. It’s important to continue networking with a company as more alliances can help you to bring in more clients. Word of mouth referrals can make your business. You can often build more relationships by having something to offer in exchange.
Things you have to offer include:
- Improved experience at work
Each of these offerings can help to build more alliances. When determining if a new champion is right for you and your business, you should determine what beyond the money they have to offer your company.
What to look for includes:
- The ability to help your business grow
- The ability to gain more experience and the opportunity to learn about growing your business
- The ability to advance the way that you currently do business or your systems and processes
Following these tips can help you to build a powerful and useful network while keeping your partnership vital and current.
Need some additional assistance with this topic? Contact us today about how our resources can help you move your business forward.
You may think that you’ve already made your first impression during your wooing of your potential client to set up your first face-to-face meeting. While it’s true that you’ve already started to make an impact on the person you’re meeting, it’s nothing compared to what they’ll take away from your first encounter. What you do before, during, and after your meeting can set the stage for a positive outcome now and into the future.
Once you’ve set the date, there are several activities and brainstorming necessary to prepare.
- Create an agenda for the meeting covering everything that you’d like to accomplish during the session.
- Brainstorm any concerns and questions that the client may have during the meeting to ensure that you can have a response prepared for them at the meeting.
- Find ways of how your service will make your client’s life easier as a way to promote your product.
- Boost your credibility during the meeting through providing research, other client feedback, and other methods.
- Run through your presentation for practice in advance of the big meeting.
- Go over any activities that will prepare you and your staff for the meeting.
Activities for During Your Meeting
When the day of your meeting arrives, there are several activities that you need to keep in mind during the meeting.
- You may find that it’s necessary to bring all other key staff members to present portions of the presentation. It’s better to have them on hand to answer questions then to leave the client hanging.
- Follow the lead of your client when it comes to the format you present.
- Be ready to listen. Yes, you’re going to go over your presentation, but it’s vital that you pay attention to what the client has to say whether it’s comments or questions.
- Follow through on any promises made for the meeting, such as having a particular figure or information they need to make a decision.
- Provide them with the information necessary to seal the deal.
After the Meeting
You also should have several activities in place after the meeting, no matter the outcome.
- Follow through with any promises made during the meeting as soon as possible.
- Continue to work on the relationship between your company and the client.
- Don’t get discouraged from hearing no. Go over what went wrong and what went right to find how you can prevent the problems and strengthen the positives.
Incorporating these different activities can help you to make a rockstar impression on your client during the meeting by selling yourself and your company.
The Elephant in the Room: Negotiation
One of the hardest things to handle is the negotiation during that first meeting as it can be intimidating. There are a few tips that can help you in making negotiation come naturally to you.
- Create a pricing strategy, and stick with it. It can be easy not to set prices and just go with the flow, but this not helpful in the long-run.
- Determine what you’re offering to the client, and prioritize the best characteristics first. This information will help you determine what you can give in on, and what really matters to you.
- Take your time, and don’t feel as though you need to give in too quickly in the process. This action can lead to you selling yourself short, but knowing your value can help.
- Keep in mind that no matter what you’ll still have to deliver a quality product or service at a price you agree upon.
- Focus on negotiating with the person rather than the company they represent. Don’t allow them to put the company before what they believe would be a good partnership.
- Remember that you shouldn’t lowball yourself too much. Once you’ve agreed to a figure, it’s complicated to get that number up. You need to make sure that you’re keeping your profits in mind.
- Offer add-on services that can boost your profit margins and provide for the client’s needs.
- Write up any requests for proposals that you get carefully to achieve a deal that does more than look good on paper.
The negotiation process doesn’t have to be feared when you know exactly how far you can go without sacrificing too much just to get a yes.
Nurturing Your Champion
Once you’re dealing with a company, it’s essential to maintain a good relationship with your contacts. This contact is the representative of the company that you’re speaking, and you should be grooming this individual or individuals to be your champion. You want them to be your ally now and in the future. This relationship can make it possible for them to vouch for you in the future in case of additional dealings.
While you may not be able to have free reign to pick your champion, there are a few characteristics that you want to look for in your potential champions.
- Your champion should be someone that is respected in the company by supervisors and decision-makers.
- Your champion should be able to consider the long run for their company’s interests rather than just short-term gains.
- Your champion should have a good social network.
- Your champion knows how to handle the system and get things done.
- Your champion should be the type of person who’s willing to give credit where credit is due.
- Your champion should have similar vision, values, and philosophy as you to work well with you.
You have the tools and know-how to prepare for all the exciting details of your first meeting. You’ll be able to plan and execute your proposal while working on improving your business relationship with those involved.
Targeting the right clients for your business is one of the most crucial aspects of efficient marketing and sales. We all want to go after the biggest fish, those with the most money to spend and the biggest imprint in the industry, but you should be able to focus your efforts on the most likely and beneficial candidates. In our previous post, we talked about the importance of targeting big clients and choosing the ones that are most likely to utilize your services or buy your products.
Once you have identified the best targets, it is time to move forward with your first contact. Although it should be a well-known element of any successful business, the importance of a good first impression cannot be overstated. While clients may not immediately decide to give you their business after a first contact, they may certainly choose not to do so if you make a bad impression.
5 Steps to a Good First Impression
The following are some basic, fundamental steps in making the right impression to move things to the next stage.
- Send out an introductory email that is unique and tailored specifically to pique the interest of the big client. It should be quick and concise, simply introducing your business and briefly describing what you can do for them.
- After 2-3 days, follow up the email with your first phone call. While you may not want to push too hard on the initial call, there is no reason not to try and set up a sales meeting right away.
- Immediately after the call, send a follow-up email thanking the client for his/her time, quickly recapping the call and offering more details into the specific benefits of your company as they relate to the client’s needs. The email should also invite them to schedule a time for a sales presentation.
- Wait 3-5 more days and call again. This call should not only be used as a pitch to provide more benefits for the client but also as an opportunity to develop a relationship with him/her. Be more focused and more determined to set up a presentation during this call.
- If the previous contacts have not secured a meeting, do not be discouraged. Wait a week or so and then repeat the steps listed above, continuing to build a rapport and develop a relationship with the potential client. Try new techniques and offer to stop by and introduce yourself in person if the first cycle of steps has not been effective.
The Right Person for the Job
After the first impression has been made, it is time to move on to the real meat of the process and begin your sales efforts in earnest. But there is no one size fits all approach to sales, and certain clients may respond better to different styles and approaches. With that being said, it is crucial that you choose the right man or woman for the job when sending someone to pitch a big client. While there are countless types of salespeople, many of them will fit into one of three main categories:
- The Professor: This person makes his or her sales based largely upon the vast amount of knowledge and the deep understanding of the product/service that can be shared with the client. The professor is most effective with logical, realistic clients who take an analytical approach to making deals.
- The Buddy: This is the person with a natural ability to bond and form connections with anyone. More than just being a friendly salesman or someone with whom clients would like to play golf, the buddy can build personal relationships in a way that is meaningful and lasting for your clients.
- The Closer: For the fast-moving, no-nonsense clients, the closer can provide all the relevant information without wasting any unnecessary time or breath. This person is generally more aggressive than the other types and makes his/her pitches in a concise, direct and authoritative manner.
Of course, most salespeople will exhibit characteristics of more than one type, but you usually know which of your people fall into which category. Understanding the needs of the client and knowing who within the company has the purchasing power will help you match the client to the right salesperson.
In order for your business to maximize its potential, you have to shoot for the stars. In most cases, these metaphorical stars refer your dream clients: the big fish that could provide a significant boost to your profitability and visibility on their own. However, dreaming big is one thing, and actually realizing these dreams takes a deep understanding of the client needs, a commitment to do whatever is necessary to secure such business and a willingness to implement certain important steps.
All three of these elements will be needed in order for you to lock down the big boys in your industry, and even then, you are still likely to face some level of resistance. But do not be discouraged; even if it takes 10 no’s, the one big yes will make it all well worth the effort. There will likely be many of your competitors also vying for the business of these same clients, and some of them may just be better fits. And that brings us to the first important step in locking down the big fish: choosing your targets wisely.
Targeting the Right Clients
Chances are, you can already name at least 10 major players in your industry whose business you would hope to secure. They are the dream clients which could individually take your company to the next level, and they are the kind of customers you should be targeting. However, your business may not always be the best fit for all of these clients, no matter how great your products/services are or how effective your sales strategy may be.
It is easy to immediately target the companies with the biggest budgets and the most meaningful imprint in the industry, but you do not want to spend unnecessary time and effort while ignoring more realistic choices. Although you want to shoot for the stars, you should not be shooting blindly at the biggest target. You can make an effort at all of the big boys, but the majority of your efforts should be focused on the most likely candidates among them.
The first step is to compile a list of all of the big clients with whom you would like to work. Start with any clients you are already considering and continue to add to the list as you come across other big fish. Then you want to order them in terms of which would be most beneficial for your company and which are most likely to buy from you. Think of the needs of the clients and try to match them with the services your company provides. When choosing the right target, consider the following questions:
- Which have the most money to spend with your business?
- Which have the biggest need for your products/services?
- Which would be most likely to lead to more growth in the future?
- Which companies have a vision and set of values and that most closely match your own?
Once you have identified the best targets, you should immediately begin to implement the steps to secure their business. This may mean further research into the clients and their needs, but you always want to move quickly if you hope to hook the big fish. Assuming this will be your first official contact, the first impression you make upon the client could literally make or break the deal.
It may seem cliche, but business is all about relationships. After all, cliches in the business world exist for a reason, and many of them are fundamental time-tested truths. And this one is even more true and essential than most. To have a thriving, successful company, you must focus on your relationships with partners, employees, vendors, colleagues, and most importantly, clients.
Another cliche: every business needs customers/clients to be successful. While this should be the most obvious of all business maxims, many entrepreneurs and managers get so caught in the countless other elements of running a company that they lose track of what is most important. The relationships you build with your clients are the most crucial part of your business, and the quality of products/services you provide them is the single most critical aspect of success.
With that being said, it should also be noted that the number of clients you have is not always the most important thing. While you and your company should naturally focus on increasing the quantity of clients, you could be even more successful by focusing on the quality of clients. This means you should structure your marketing, sales, and outreach towards reaching the big fish.
These types of clients may not always respond to the traditional tactics you use to reach more modest clients, and you should understand the steps to reach the bigger clients in your industry. To do just that, the following steps can help you redirect your efforts towards the big boys and build relationships that can indeed take your company to the next level.
1. Make a good first impression.
You only get one shot at this, so you should take all necessary steps to ensure that your first impression is a great one. Your first meeting with a big client should be professional, focused and exciting. You should be able to quickly explain the benefits of your company, and stress how your products/services will make the life or business of the client better. These big fish typically have tons of companies vying for their business, and if you do not get it right the first time, you may not get another opportunity.
2. Make them feel like your highest priority.
Big clients need to understand that their needs will always come first concerning business. You need to let them know that they will be important to you and that you will always put them ahead of other priorities. Make them feel special, and they will give you their business. A few ways to do this:
- Return their calls or emails immediately.
- Work to resolve problems as soon as they are brought to your attention.
- Give them a personal touch and work with them yourself.
- Check in with them at regular intervals, and make sure they are satisfied with your products/services.
- Most of all, work to build a meaningful relationship.
3. Be flexible to meet their needs.
You may have specific policies, procedures or other elements of your business that do not fit well to what the big client needs. In these cases, you should be flexible and do anything within reason to adjust these elements according to the needs of the client.
There is also one bonus tip that many business owners overlook in trying to reach big clients: be passionate and have fun. If you are passionate about your business and providing great products/services, the client will feel that and know that you are someone they can trust. Additionally, you should make your interactions fun to let them know that you enjoy what you do.
The business world offers countless paths for entrepreneurs to choose. Some are paths of super-sonic speed that catapult a company to the top of the industry, seemingly overnight. Other paths include low risk and relatively low rewards, as business owners take the cautious path to avoid failure. The ideal path would involve steady growth and improvement, but unfortunately, none of these paths guarantee success in the end.
Depending on your goals and your industry, you may find it necessary to move at a certain pace. Those in technology must maintain a fast pace to keep up with the ever-changing needs of an ever-growing market. Those in more traditional fields may feel that consistency and steady quality are more important than constant adaptation. As is the case in so many areas of business, the key here is balance.
No matter what your industry or how grand your goals, you need to be able to find the right balance of growth, change, adaptation and improvement that matches the needs of your customers and the demands of your field. To put it in relatively general terms, there are three basic speeds at which a company may grow.
Some companies launch to the top of their respective fields in almost no time. While this would seemingly be the ideal course for any business, overnight success is often a matter of sheer luck. Even aside from the uncontrollable variables that are usually involved in this path, fast-paced growth is not without its drawbacks. Many companies quickly exceed the scope of what they can handle, either in terms of customers or countless other elements, and this can cause a collapse that is just as fast and epic as their rise.
Slow and Cautious
On the other side of the spectrum, many companies toil in mediocrity and microscopic growth for years, with little to show in terms of success. This is often the result of overly cautious decision making and/or an unwillingness to change by those at the top of the company. This path can certainly lead to a more predictable future when compared to the fast-paced path, but that future may never fully develop into anything meaningful. Businesses that end up on this path almost never reach their full potential.
To avoid the grand pitfalls of super-fast growth and the grinding mediocrity of overly cautious business, you have to find the balance that fits your needs. You want to be able to adapt and improve with the needs and trends of your market, but you must also remain consistent and true to the values that define your company. Finding this balance may be easier said than done, but understanding the importance of it and making decisions with this in mind will ensure that your company reaches its intended destination in the right amount of time.